The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others. Also included is a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier. Click book to order.  


Thumbnails September 2010

by Tony Medley

Nanny McPhee Returns (10/10): Emma Thompson (who wrote the award-quality script) is back again as the titular, time-traveling superhero nanny in this part farce, part 1920ís-style adventure. Appealable to adults as well as children, this is a childrenís film like Rocky and Bullwinkle was a childrenís cartoon. Rhys Ifans and Eros Vlahos give wonderfully comedic performances as the bad guy and spoiled nephew, respectively. Vlahosí British aunt is Maggie Gyllenhaal, a Yank whose appearance as a Brit, while well done, is the only jarring note in this wonderful film. Itís hard to believe there isnít even one British actress who could have played the role. Inspirationally directed by Susanna White, the music, pace, color, CGI-created animals, cinematography, and message are magical.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Part 1) & Public Enemy No. 1 (Part 2)(8/10): This is writer/director Jean-FranÁois Richetís graphically true story of the violent reign of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassell), pronounced May-reen, circa 1961-1979. In two films, Cassell charismatically portrays the volatile, sociopathic Mesrine as a charming, extremely brutal man who wore many faces; a ladiesí man, a bank robber, a doting father, an escape artist, and a manipulator of the media. Spanish actress Elena Anaya (in a memorable performance) plays his wife and Cťcile de France is Bonnie to his Clyde in Part 1. The always appealing Ludivine Sagnier satisfies Mesrineís sexual fantasies as his last girlfriend in Part 2. In French.

Charlie St. Cloud (7/10): Aimed at women in general and romantic high school girls in particular, Zac Efron, despite teeth so white they almost require sunglasses to reduce the glare, is a good enough actor to carry off this sentimental soap opera.

Salt (7/10): While a lot of this unexpectedly timely chase film is incredible, itís still a good story full of entertaining twists.

Dinner for Schmucks (6/10): Only a schlemiel would entitle a movie with a vulgarism like this. Despite the title, this wasnít as bad as I imagined, but hell probably isnít as hot as I imagine, either. While Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and Bruce Greenwood give good performances, and Stephanie Szostak brings a lot more than her stunning beauty to the film, bizarre photographer Jermaine Clement is the highlight.

The Switch (6/10): Exceptional performances by Jeff Goldblum and Jason Bateman, supported by Patrick Wilson and Thomas Robinson, arenít enough to elevate this predictable story of storgic lovers in reverse, glorifying Jennifer Annistonís statement that a child doesnít need a father, above the bromidic.

Farewell (6/10): Even though the two main actors, Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet, were risking their lives throughout, this roman Š clef, mostly fiction and anti-American, is preternaturally slow. Alas, writer/director Christian Carion seems to think heís creating a segment of As the World Turns instead of a serious thriller.  In French.

The Expendables (5/10): A retro action film, so full of preposterous violence it is akin to white noise, with aging 20th Century action stars apparently trying to prove they are still young despite the wrinkles, it is beyond silly.

The Other Guys (1/10): Despite entertaining performances by Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, and Steve Coogan, this is doomed by the woeful, incoherent script, story, and direction, and Will Ferrell and the ingenuous character that has become his staple. Like Charlie Chaplinís tramp, Ferrell has continued to play the same character, even though it was already getting stale by the end of Elf (2003), when it made its first appearance. Unlike Chaplinís character, Ferrellís is not only not lovable, itís not even likeable.

Eat Pray Love (1/10 guys; 7/10 chicks): Go Pay Suffer.